Lee County sees rise in percentage positive for COVID-19, raises reopening questions

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Lee County crossed 3,000 cases of the coronavirus with 138 cases reported Tuesday.

And the current average percent positive rate per day is above the 10% recommendation the CDC reopening guidelines call for to reopen safely.

We looked at whether this could pause reopening in Lee County or even cause another shutdown. We spoke to county commissioners Tuesday and heard two different stories about the future possibilities.

Lee County is currently open for business amid the pandemic. The coronavirus is still here and still spreading. What grabbed Commissioner Frank Mann’s attention is people are still dying from COVID-19.

“What I cannot get out of my mind is that two months ago there were 25 deaths in Lee County, Florida,” Mann told WINK News. “Today, a short time later, we are well over 100. So we’re not out of the woods.”

In the last week, 11% of tests done in Lee County came back positive. That number was 6% when Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the go ahead to begin reopening the state nearly two months ago.

The mayor of Miami recently said his city is going to pause its reopening, hoping that will slow the spike in positive cases there.

We asked Commissioner Mann what would it take for Lee County to do the same.

“If the numbers continue to escalate right back where we started, that would be an option we have to look at,” Mann said.

Commissioner Chairman Brian Hamman told us he would consider pausing the reopening only if the hospital system couldn’t handle the increase in cases.

“Many ways, this is what we were planning for,” Hamman told WINK News.

Both Hamman and Mann agree, because Lee County remains in a state of emergency, commissioners will call an emergency meeting if it becomes necessary. Three out of five commissioners would need to vote yes to slow down reopening the county economy. Right now, that is not under current consideration.

“The most important thing to look at is do we have the resources to take care of everybody who’s unfortunately coming down with this?” Hamman said. “And right now, it appears we do.”

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